In CAP this year, we’ve been brainstorming about public outreach activities. We’ve been focusing on activities for kids – who sometimes need a little extra help engaging with archaeological materials. This is my first year as a graduate student at MSU, and my first year …
Even during a quarantine, archaeology does not stop. While we have not been able to get out into the field until recently, we at CAP have been working hard to create historical background summaries of areas that will be impacted by construction (a critical part …
In our previous blog, Jeff Bennett introduced the concept of Open Archaeology and some of the ways that Campus Archaeology (CAP) is maintaining and furthering our position within the framework of Open Archaeology. One of the ways in which we plan to further our efforts in Open Archaeology is to develop a digital repository for all CAP projects and artifacts. A digital repository is essentially a database for storing and managing digital data. Development of the digital repository will be a long-term project that requires cataloging artifacts housed in the CAP lab in a standardized way and importing a large amount of information in the repository. Our aim is to develop a public interface so that all of our data is freely available.
We have met with Dr. Ethan Watrall, Associate Director of the Matrix Lab, who is helping with the technical aspects in developing the repository. Matrix has created their own open-source content management system, known as KORA, with the intention of curating digital humanities projects. Two special features of KORA highlighted by Matrix are its ability to be accessed from a web browser and the flexibility in customizing the type and style of metadata associated with the objects. This means that CAP will be able to control how the public interacts with the data and, essentially, the narrative we would like tell about MSU’s history through our artifacts. KORA is currently undergoing updates with the intention of releasing KORA3 in the upcoming months. CAP is working closely with Dr. Watrall to learn the new system and we plan to begin developing the project as soon as the new version is released.
Currently, much of our data is stored in a series of excel files specific to each project. The CAP digital repository will create a central location for all data associated with past and present CAP projects, including site records (e.g. site forms, images, and maps) and artifacts. Further, by creating standardized forms for inputting data, we will create a completely standardized collection and a requirement for recording data in a standardized way in the future. This project will require that all artifacts be cataloged following standards set by the Society for Historical Archaeology so that all artifacts are being identified with the same terminology and have the same type of data recorded, such as weight and other measurements.
The way in which we structure the user interface is a critical component of the project. KORA projects are structured using a series of data entry levels, including the Project, Entity, and Record. The largest data level is Project, which contains all of the entities and records within it. The Project for our digital repository will simply be the “CAP Digital Repository”. This means that all of our data will be encompassed within this single project. Next, we will create the entities. The entities will be what we want to be the central focus of the repository. In this case, each CAP project, or site, will be an entity so that all data (site forms and artifacts) will be organized based on the site with which it is associated. Therefore, the entity would likely be a site report, such as “Saints Rest” or “Beal Street”. The final structure level is the most refined level of data known as records. Records are contained within entities. Our repository records will be any site forms and/or artifacts associated with a site, or entity. Records will have standardized forms with dropdown menus to select from a set list of terms in order to create an efficient and effective searchable database. We will also be able to link images and scanned documents with each record form so that users will be able to view the tangible record.
The CAP digital repository will
create a central location of all data associated with CAP projects improving
the overall quality of our collection and making future research easier as
future CAP fellows, as well as public users, can easily search and view our
entire collection. We believe that Open Archaeology is the future of
archaeological science by creating complete transparency between archaeologists
and the public, as well as between researchers and institutions. Having a digital
presence will allow the public to explore MSU’s history in a unique fashion through
Last semester I began a quest to create 3D renditions of some of our artifacts and display them ever so eloquently on the CAP website. As mentioned in my previous posts, I used 123D Catch, a free photogrammetry application that can be used right on your …
There are hundreds of archaeology blogs, lists of active blogs are compiled (http://anthropologyreport.com/anthropology-blogs-2014/), individual blog posts are collected (http://dougsarchaeology.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/around-the-archaeology-blog-o-sphere-digest-5/), and RSS feeds are inundated. But if you’re new to anthropology, or specifically archaeology blogging, where’s a good place to start? I thought I’d share some …
Since its official beginnings in 2007, social media has played an important role in the management of and education about cultural heritage on campus. Social media is part of a larger multifaceted communication plan that has been developed as part of this program for multiple reasons, and is not simply a tool for public engagement. Over the last seven years, we’ve changed, updated, and maintained a social media presence that has been pivotal in our success as a small group in a large university. At the Midwest Historical Archaeology Conference on September 28, 2014- I had the opportunity to present on why our social media presence has been successful and how we have used it. Here, I want to share some of the ways we’ve creatively used social media, and the things that we’ve learned over the last seven years.
Whether its on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Flickr, YouTube, or other social media, we have used social media to accomplish four primary goals:
Engagement with our stakeholders, including MSU students, staff and faculty, as well as the broader public and MSU alumni
We share updates about fieldwork, we invite people to come watch our excavations, and we share information about what we’ve found and how we’ve interpreted it.
This provides the public with knowledge that their shared Spartan heritage is being protected, gives them new information about this heritage, and it reveals the process of archaeology, improving the transparency of the work that we do and making it more accessible.
Communication and collaboration with the broader archaeological communities and groups around the world
Our work isn’t just for the local community- it is part of the larger public archaeology being conducted around the world!
We use social media to talk with other archaeologists about the work they are doing, and we also use this network to get help identifying artifacts, finding resources to aid in interpretation, and learning about new tools we can use.
Opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students to gain digital and public engagement skills
As our world is increasingly online, it is important for our students to learn about digital tools and how to use them as an archaeologist. We provide an opportunity for our students to learn how to use social media and talk with diverse audiences.
Maintain a digital record of our work that can easily be accessed from any computer
By keeping digital records of the work we are doing, we can access photos, data, reports, and more from the different social media tools we use. Flickr maintains a photo record, YouTube has a video record, our blog has information about past interpretations, and Storify has records of the Twitter feeds from different events.
After seven years of using social media in this fashion, we’ve learned a number of lessons that will be helpful for those looking to improve their own program’s social media presence.
Use a wide variety of social media and digital tools: there isn’t one perfect tool that will allow you to reach everyone and engage with all the different groups. There are different audiences using different tools, which means that you need to find a range of tools that works for you. Often, we post similar things on Twitter and Facebook, because there are different groups reading them.
Be flexible and try new things: new types of tools and software are being released almost every day, so you cannot be wedded to one type of approach or a set of tools. We are constantly on the lookout for new ways to engage and collaborate online. Its important to look for what new ways people are using to communicate with one another, and be willing to take up new tools and abandon the old if it no longer serves its purpose.
Keep track of analytics: analytics tell you how many hits you are getting, how many people are looking at the site, what posts or tweets are the most engaged with, and more. From this, you can better adjust and maintain the success of your social media. Almost all social media have analytics tools that will help you see what is getting the most attention, and what needs to be changed.
If you’d like to learn more, Dr. Goldstein will be leading a webinar about this topic!
Webinar: Campus Archaeology’s Social Media Approach
Through the Society for American Archaeology
Led by Dr. Lynne Goldstein
Tentatively scheduled: December 10, 2 pm (Eastern)
Greetings and happy Fall 2014! This summer I was fortunate to participate in Dr. Goldstein’s Cultural Heritage management class which introduced me to a wide range of topics in creating long terms plans for the promotion, conservation, and preservation of sites across the …
This year my Campus Archaeology Program project is going to be incorporating information from recent Field School’s into the pre-existing GIS map made of the Campus. This will include mapping Shovel Test Pit and excavation location and detail information. The ultimate goal of this project …